(Last Updated on : 25/11/2014)
Born in 872 B.C. at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, the popular saint, Parsava was the 23rd Jain Tirthankara. He was born in the royal family of Kasi and he left his home at the age of 30, and wandered at a number of places around India, as an ascetic. According to some of the scholars, Parsava was the true founder of Jainism, though there are some other thoughts as well. Parsava founded the Nirgrantha ascetic order of monks and an order of nuns at Varanasi, for propagating his teachings.
There were a number of 4 vows of Jainism ordained by Parsava. The vows were 'Ahimsa' (non-injury), 'Sunrita' (truth), 'Asteya' (non-stealing) and 'Brahmacharya'. As, Parsava never preached about complete nudity, his followers were called as the 'Svetambara' (white-clad) Jains. A serpent was the symbol of Parsava. After becoming successful in spreading his thoughts and idealism among the common people and also among his disciples, Parsava decided to slowly starve himself to death. He actually did so to follow an essential part of Jain principle that permits the Jain monks to die after completing 12 years of ascetic discipline. The hill where he died is quite famous as Parasnath, at the moment and the hill is also a very important and sacred pilgrimage centre for the Jain community.